Trombetta indictment details complicated scheme
By David Conti
Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton and a federal grand jury outlined a scheme they say Nick Trombetta used to skim nearly $1 million from PA Cyber Charter School and a foundation he founded, and related entities they say he controlled.
According to the indictment:
• Trombetta founded PA Cyber in 2000 and the nonprofit National Network of Digital Schools Management Foundation, or NNDS, in 2005 to manage the school.
• He founded Avanti Management Group in 2008 and installed four straw owners. The firm made nearly all its money — $9.2 million in 2011 alone — managing NNDS.
• Trombetta and his sister Elaine Neill formed one2one Enterprises in 2006.
• Trombetta founded the Buckeye Online School for Success, or BOSS, in 2003 and controlled it until 2006.
• He ordered PA Cyber and NNDS employees to conduct work for BOSS and a company called Wingspan New Mexico that sold online education to districts with Native American students.
• He used Butler County-based Martlin Management, run by high school friend Martin Dorsch, to divert money owed to PA Cyber and NNDS by BOSS and Wingspan to one2one.
• One2one collected $440,000 from Wingspan and BOSS between 2006 and 2008. Trombetta used money from one2one to pay for groceries, meals and travel.
• An unnamed technology company contracted with PA Cyber to provide 11,000 laptops and paid Trombetta, through Avanti, $50 for each laptop in 2010 and 2011.
• Palatine Development, a subsidiary of Avanti, bought a $300,000 twin-engine plane for Trombetta.
• Avanti in 2009 paid $73,000 for an Ohio home owned by Trombetta's then-girlfriend.
• Palatine in 2010 bought Trombetta's home in Steubenville, Ohio, paid off a $110,310 lien and put $47,695 in one2one's bank account.
• Avanti paid $933,000 for a Florida condo in 2011.
• Trombetta made Avanti employees and spouses contribute a combined $40,000 to unnamed political candidates, then reimbursed them.
• Avanti paid $18,000 a month to one2one between August 2008 and June 2012 for consulting it did not provide.
• Trombetta and accountant Neal Prence in June 2012 set out to form Presidio Education Network. Trombetta planned to send invoices from Presidio to Avanti to drain its accounts.
• Prence took $8 million in income attributable to Trombetta and put it on the tax returns of Neill and the Avanti shell owners.
David Conti is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Philly, state leaders hopeful for pope visit in 2015
- Retired Pa. Game Commission chief to get $220K severance payment
- Greene County proposes more than $200,000 for Brave sewage plant rehab
- Dems’ debate assails Gov. Corbett
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- Corrections officers suffer injuries
- Wide range of wintry weather hits half of U.S.
- RMU poll: Dem women not behind Obamacare backers
- Pennsylvania plans experimental program to allow inmates computer tablets
- Former PSU president Thomas dies at 81
- Sources: McQueary told players he was abused as boy